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The First Billion

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,266 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Christopher Reich electrified readers with Numbered Account and The Runner, his first two international thrillers. Now the New York Times bestselling author whose work has been called “gripping” (Chicago Tribune), “chilling” (The Denver Post), “wonderful” (The New York Times Book Review), ratchets up the stakes in an ingeniously plotted story of nerve-jangling intrigue and ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Dell (first published 2002)
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The Short Life of Sparrows by Emm ColeThe First Billion by Christopher ReichPrince of Thieves by Chuck HoganThe Juror by George Dawes GreenThe Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
Lesser Known Gems (<5000 ratings)
2nd out of 67 books — 10 voters
The Geneva Connection by Martin BodenhamWhere Angels Prey by Ramesh S ArunachalamTrade Secrets by Holly RoznerThe Chairman by Stephen W. FreyThe Protégé by Stephen W. Frey
Best Financial Thrillers
12th out of 45 books — 56 voters

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Community Reviews

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THE FIRST BILLION by Christopher Reich is 10 cassettes in the audio version. It was read by James Daniels and is approximately 15 hours long.


In exactly six days, Jett Gavallan will take Russia's top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former fighter pilot and now the CEO of Black Jet Securities, Gavallan is no stranger to risk. But when rumors of fraud threaten to send the deal south - and with it everything Gavallan has worked so hard to build - he dispatches his
This is Mr. Reich's third novel and I gave his first two five stars. This one didn't match the tempo of his others but it was still a very interesting read. Our hero, John Gavallan, heads up a mid size, full service investment banking organization. They have made their mark in the industry handling IPOs, i.e. Initial Public Offerings. They have not scored a "big one" in some time and a cash flow injection is sorely needed. As the reader is introduced into John's life he and his associates are in ...more
Interesting insight to the greedy IPO world and a nice mix with action and suspense; main character is a little too perfect and too rich....needed more flaws...puts entire fighter jet on AMEX....really!
Barbara Sparks
Typical mystery writing. Wall street, Russia. If you don’t have anything else to read, this will at least entertain you if you can make it through the financial stuff. Drags in the middle
Was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did (perhaps because I bought it for a quarter as an old used library book). This is a great thriller that was really hard to put down.
the beginning needed some editing. but the story line was really good. the forensic accountants always get the bad guys. august, 2012
Lots of bad Ruskies, murders, business machinations are not enough to make this novel spark interest throughout. 4 of 10 stars
I enjoyed this one too! Quite a bit happening in it and it had some finance in it which always interests me.
Aug 04, 2008 Amy is currently reading it
I have read six other books and still trying to finish this one. That may be a sign...
Reich, Christopher. THE FIRST BILLION. (2002). ***. Reich has garnered a reputation of being the John Grisham of the financial world. His books are, technically, thrillers, but most of the thrills in this novel are forced. Having worked in M&A, there are big holes in Reich’s plot for this one that are immediately obvious. The plot outline given by the publishers follows. “In exactly six days, Jeff Gavallan will take Russia’s top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former f ...more
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This book was, at times, highly entertaining. However, it also had long periods of blah, blah, blah. It wasn't until page two hundred that the real action and suspense was introduced, and even then the author skirts over what could have been some really intense scenes. While I certainly liked the main character and his love interest, I didn't always see some of the twists and turns their adventure would take, and liked how they figured things out in the end. The bad guy, Kirov wasn't the most di ...more
Jeff Holker
Couldn't put it down!

Well written, fast-paced, relevant (in 2015) storyline involving the murky underbelly on Russian thuggery, mafia and oligarchy. The characters were plausible and well developed through the book. I might argue this was Reich's finest work! Enjoy!
Alex Rogers
Oh dear, I'm having a bad run - the fourth straight book I've abandoned, simply because the writing style was irritating. I'm definitely getting more critical - the less time I have to read, the less patience I have with mediocre writing. And this is on the low side of mediocre.
Having read Christopher Reich's first 2 books and not thinking much of them, this was great - not nearly as much waffle in it as the first 2 books and it had loads of intrigue, action and a bit of silliness as well. Buying a fighter jet for $1 million on your AMEX card, yeah right! Still, it was a fun read.
Lenora Arthur
I thought it was an excellent book with a few surprising twists to the story. It kept me interested until the last page. Between the last chapter and the epilogue was a gap that could have been more connected. It is definitely worth reading.
Melody Benz
I'm not that qualified to keep up on financial thrillers but he did a great job of keeping me educated. Amazing just how much can be charged to Amex!! Great thrilling story and non- stop.
I've read the first three Christopher Reich books and I feel this one was by far the best. It kept the action moving much better than the first two, I can only hope that this is a good sign for his future efforts.
Deborah Gray
A thrill ride through a murky Russian world of espionage and high stakes, which eventually take the reader all over the globe. I don't know anything about Russian political and criminal elements (which seem to be the same thing), nor much at all about IPOs and the moneyed stratosphere the main character, Jett Gavallan, inhabits. But I felt the verisimilitude of the research, and the layered street knowledge of geography. There was some suspension of disbelief in the multitude of plot twists, but ...more
Karen C
Read in 2012....don't remember much but I think it was a little complicated/financial kind of story so hard for me to follow.
Barbara B.
I would have rated it higher, as it was a good story line, but I found myself getting bogged down with all the financial verbage.
I truly enjoyed this book. Maybe not as much as numbered account, but a very close second.
Rupesh Goenka
Disappointing!! The story line drags unnecessarily.. plot with Russian background is stale...
Dave Bernard
For anyone from the Silicon Valley who has been part of an IPO and all the crazy things that can happen on the path to fame and fortune, you ain't seen nothing yet! Reich builds a strong central character who fights and claws and won't take no for an answer as he struggles to take his company public. Everything from international gangsters to internal betrayals keep the book interesting and a fast read. As usual the author seems to speak from a position of expertise in all matters financial. I l ...more
Yawn. Could not finish it.
Needs an editor. Could have been half as long
Nov 22, 2009 Fred rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
This book was a very difficult read. The first 1/4 to 1/3 of the book just felt completely disjointed. Finally after about the first half of the book things settled down a bit and there was some rhythm to the plot. Last half of the book was worth wading through the first half, though there were times during the first half that it didn't feel like it would get any better.
Joel Ungar
Rather formulaic. I chose this book simply by spotting the spine while at the library. But once I got into it, it just seemed rather formulaic. Flashbacks occurred at predictable interviews. The major characters, at different times, all seemed to stop and look at themselves in the mirror. There just wasn't anything all that intriguing.
Foster Winter
The action kept me coming back to move through the story. However, with over 600 pages to work with some additional back-story might have been able to increase the plausibility of the situations. Perhaps this is a story that needs a prequel.
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He was born in Tokyo and moved to Los Angeles in 1965. He attended Georgetown University and the University of Texas and worked in Switzerland before returning to the United States to become an author. He lives in San Diego and is the author of seven novels. He has a wife and 2 kids. His father is Willy Wolfgang Reich

"A relentlessly fast-paced espionage thriller, ripped from tomorrow's headlines b
More about Christopher Reich...
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